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A new magnified optical sight goes the distance

Holosun’s HM3X Magnifier offers versatility, durability and affordability

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Holosun’s HM3X megnifier in action


Sponsored by Holosun

By Warren Wilson for Police1 BrandFocus

It’s rare to see a law enforcement carbine without an optic these days. Red dot sights (RDS) are a great example of technology benefitting police work. However, there is a growing contingent of defensive rifle aficionados embracing the benefits of magnified optical sights.

Magnification offers several advantages to the law enforcement officer’s patrol rifle. The most obvious and relevant is the ability to identify and deal with threats at distance. I’m not talking about several hundred yards. I’m talking about from one end of your local school or mall to the other. It’s an uncomfortable thought, but that’s the reality cops face. That’s one of the reasons we carry rifles.

For those with an RDS, being able to identify a threat at a distance means either discarding their current optic and buying new equipment in the form of a Low Power Variable Optic (LPVO) or simply adding a “switch-to-side” magnifier. Many choose the latter. The idea is that the rifle is carried with the magnifier in the down position and the RDS is used without magnification.

When it is apparent that distance may become a factor, the magnifier is flipped up behind the RDS. It can be quickly slapped out of the way, as necessary. The problem with this solution is primarily cost. Magnifying optics can cost the buyer as much or more than the red dot sight.

Enter the Holosun HM3X. It MSRP’s for only $235.28 and offers a three times magnification; thereby making it financially, “cop friendly.”


The first feature that stands out is the 2.75-inch eye relief. Many magnifiers of three times magnification have only about 2.2 inches of eye relief. For those unfamiliar, eye relief is the distance from the glass to the farthest point at which the human eye can obtain a full view. Beyond that point, the view angle is reduced. The reason this is important is that crowding your optic reduces your field of view and can exacerbate the negative effects of parallax. Generally, mounting your optic a little more forward is a good thing.

The HM3X’s adjustable diopter allows the user to adjust the focus to their individual eye. The integrated mount can be easily configured to flip to the right or the left depending on the user’s preference. It comes with a spacer that allows the individual officer to mount the optic with either an absolute or lower one-third co-witness.

Thankfully, manufacturers are responding to the need for adaptability in this type of equipment. The HM3X is just under four inches in length and nine ounces in weight, which is right in line with some of the more costly magnifiers on the market. Its aluminum housing promises to withstand the type of abuse one can expect from law enforcement duty.

Considering the threats law enforcement and the public in general face these days, a patrol rifle with the option of a magnified optic can be invaluable. But, most law enforcement officers in the United States are with small agencies which have limited budgets to provide equipment. That means the majority of cops self-finance at least some of their equipment, including firearms and accoutrements thereto.

The HM3X costs about 60 percent of like-featured magnifiers. That might mean the difference between an officer having this equipment when it’s needed – or not.

Warren Wilson is a captain, training commander and rangemaster with the Enid Police Department in Oklahoma. He is a former SWAT team leader, current firearms instructor and writer. He has been a full-time law enforcement officer since 1996.